Newspoll: 55-45

The Australian reports the latest Newspoll survey, the first in three weeks, shows Labor’s two-party lead steady on 55-45. Kevin Rudd’s satisfaction rating is up six points to 56 per cent while his dissatisfaction is down five to 32 per cent. Malcolm Turnbull has also performed well on his delayed first set of Newspoll leadership ratings (for some reason the question wasn’t asked last time), with 50 per cent satisfied and 25 per cent dissatisfied.

The weekly Essential Research survey has Labor’s lead down from 58-42 to 57-43. Also featured are numerous questions on attitudes to the financial crisis.

UPDATE: Further detail on Newspoll from Dennis Shanahan: primary votes are 41 per cent for Labor, 38 per cent for the Coalition and a record 13 per cent for the Greens. Kevin Rudd’s preferred leader rating is steady at 54 per cent, while Malcolm Turnbull’s is up two points to 26 per cent. Turnbull in fact has a 1 per cent higher net approval rating (satisfaction minus dissatisfaction) than Rudd, whereas Rudd’s previous worst result relative to his opponent since becoming Labor leader was a lead of 28 per cent.

UPDATE 2 (14/10/08): The West Australian today carries polling on federal voting intention from the same 400-sample survey that produced yesterday’s state poll. Andrew Probyn reports:

The latest Westpoll survey showed the Federal coalition leading Labor in WA 51 per cent to 49 per cent on a two-party preferred status. Though it is the first time the coalition has led the ALP in a Westpoll since last year, it is still well below the 53-47 two-party preferred vote in the Federal election on November 24. However, it showed a significant turnaround from the two polls since the election. In June, when Brendan Nelson was Opposition leader, Westpoll showed the ALP leading 53-47 on the two-party preferred vote, down from a peak differential of 62-38 in April … The Westpoll survey of 400 Western Australians by telephone on the evenings of October 6-8, found that the coalition led on primary vote 46 per cent to the ALP’s 41 per cent (in June it was 42-42). After undecided votes were allocated according to previous elections, the coalition had 47 per cent to the ALP’s 42 per cent. On the measurement of preferred prime minister, Mr Turnbull had eroded Kevin Rudd’s lead. Mr Rudd, who had a preferred PM status of a massive 69 per cent in April against Dr Nelson’s paltry 14 per cent, was down to 54 per cent. Though Mr Rudd’s lead was still commanding over Mr Turnbull on 35 per cent, the gap had narrowed significantly even since June when he led Dr Nelson 59-21 … Asked who was better able to manage the economy, 44 per cent of respondents said Mr Rudd, while 40 per cent said Mr Turnbull. Among men, the leaders were evenly split 43-43. Among women, Mr Rudd was clear favourite, 46 per cent to 37 per cent.

Author: William Bowe

William Bowe is a Perth-based election analyst and occasional teacher of political science. His blog, The Poll Bludger, has existed in one form or another since 2004, and is one of the most heavily trafficked websites on Australian politics.

760 comments on “Newspoll: 55-45”

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  1. What an astonishing reading of the result:
    [KEVIN Rudd is enjoying a Newspoll bounce in the wake of the global financial crisis but support for the newly minted opposition leader Malcolm Turnbull has also rocketed according to voter satisfaction measures.]

    No mention of Preferred PM (which is the real fiigure – no one cares what Nelson’s satisfaciton was, all anyone remembers is he went below 10% on preferred PM).

    And the poll just once again proves that Turnbull would kill Nelson at the next election….

  2. From the OO:

    [… in his first Newspoll survey as opposition leader, Mr Turnbull has also recorded a stunning turnaround in voter satisfaction levels. Fifty per cent of those surveyed say they are satisfied with how Mr Turnbull is performing as opposition leader.

    That’s a 15 per cent jump from former opposition leader Brendan Nelson’s previous results which included a 35 per cent satisfaction level and a 42 per cent dissatisfaction level.]

    How is this an improvement for Turnbull, when it’s compared against Nelson?

    The wording is clear: “Malcolm Turnbull has recorded a stunning turnaround”. How can you turn around from nowhere?

  3. Did this poll precede Turnbull’s scare-mongering, Rudd’s actions on the weekend and (I presume) the market bounce today? If so, I’d say it will get better for Rudd and wores for Turnbull.

  4. It is somewhat interesting that that Rudd’s net satisfaction rating, at 24%, is lower than Turnbull’s, at 25%. Statistically negligible, but interesting nonetheless.

  5. These polls would not include many (if any) interviews from Sunday and, most likely, the majority of interviewing would have been completed before the weekend. So assessment of the impact of the continuing financial crisis and Rudd’s response will have to wait another week. But indications are that the Rudd Government’s popularity is holding firm.

  6. Oz. “The Australian” used to be called be the G.G. a.k.a The Government Gazette. Once the government changed hands, it became known as the Opposition Orifice or Organ, for obvious reasons.

  7. GP @ 9

    Satisfaction with the performance of the opposition leader is a somewhat ambiguous measure. Let’s see the preferred PM.

  8. No 14

    It’s still not bad. Certainly not as egregious as 60/40; 58/42 and the like that we saw all the way through 2007.

    The opposition is doing about as well as it can in the circumstances, especially since this is the first ALP Government in some 12 years.

  9. No 20

    The TPP is meaningless this far out from an election. They only become more instructive in the preceding months before an election. As such, it makes sense to analyse other statistical measures like PPM and satisfaction ratings. On the latter figures, Turnbull is doing much better than Nelson.

  10. GP @ 18

    I think a reasonable interpretation of these figures would be that the public are roughly equally happy with Rudd as PM and Turnbull as opposition leader. Which says little about how they compare them.

  11. 24 GP – true but you also said it was interesting. Just how something “negligible” is interesting is beyond me. It’s meaningless like I said. Anyway, moving right along.

  12. I think that Fielding caving in on the Medicare Levy and Alcopops tax is mostly because he does not want a Double Dissolution (due to his likely defeat even though the quota is almost halved) especially on the Medicare levy.

  13. DD or not, Fielding just realises that pulling financial stunts in the Senate to maximise your profile is not a good look right now. Thousands of the pensioners who voted for him might have lost a third of their retirement savings. He knows he has to be more careful now if he wants to be relected, whether now or in the future.

  14. No 28

    Fielding is proving to be an absolute idiot, the ultimate chameleon, changing sides as is automatically expedient. The parliament will rejoice when he is booted out next time.

  15. IF Turnbull didn’t do better than Nelson he would be slashing his wrists. In fact Turnbull probably has got a comparison ‘bonus’ because anybody would have been a great relief after Nelson.

    Now if he can only keep those Treasury leaks coming.

  16. Agreed GP; he was elected on a statistical anomaly which magnified a preferencing error by Labor. He is out of his depth. Stunts might get you some media time, but you have to have substance behind it. I see no coherent policy pattern in his decisions.

  17. GB #25: Sure it’s interesting. Rudd’s previous lowest advantage over his opponent on net satisfaction rating since he became leader in December 2006 was 28 per cent. Now it’s minus one.

  18. No 32

    What’s more, his reasons for changing his mind are spurious at best. The Government has just guaranteed 700 billion in bank deposits – the size of the budget surplus is inconsequential and makes a mockery of Rudd’s tirade about the need to pass the new taxes.

  19. Seriously – focusing on a “satisfaction” rating … whatever floats your boat …

    so we have “satification” now being focused on more than the PPM, and more than on who you will actually vote for … pffft

    I’m satifisfied with Turnbull’s performance as Opposition Leader – he’s performing like a goose ..

  20. Turnbull’s performance as shadow Treasurer was pretty bad and was forever making a goose of himself. Apart from attacking the RBA and Treasury he did at one stage demand Treasury release some document to prove something he was saying which kinda of gave away the fact that had a contact(s) in Treasury leaking him info. Something someone from SBS commented on the other day.

    I think the only thing that stops Turnbull from looking totally useless as Opposition leader at the moment is the leaking of information to him so he at least appears to have some idea. Once those leaks get closed up he will be flying blind again, not something he does really well as a politician.

    I am intrigued when people say Turnbull is smart and I can only assume that they think so because he has gotten rich as a merchant banker (boo!) – he hasn’t demonstrated smarts as yet.

    I also suspect that Turnbull is not going to get much assistance from the business community if their recent comments on him are anything to go by and, would appear that they are pleased with Rudd and Co at the moment.

    Even Albrechtsen felt free to stick the knife into him today and praise Rudd on the financial crisis.

  21. Frank Calabrese @ 38

    Wonder if they will mention the SIEVX and the possible Howard govt complicity in the drowning of over 300 people in order to help their electoral prospects. I don’t believe it was so but the point was that the Howard govt had become seen as so empty of ethics and morality that people could genuinely ponder it as a possibility.

  22. No 40

    TP, the suggestion that the Australian Government, Labor or Liberal, would willingly allow or orchestrate the drowning of 300 people is simply outrageous.

  23. Hello everybody. Been missing in action for a while but here goes. Neither Rudd nor Turnbull are even remotely in control of what is about to happen. Euro governments have just put the equivalent of about $Au2500,000,000,000 on the table to rescue the euro banks, get inter bank loans on the go, and so forth. There are several years for the real economy to absorb this level of pain and for the Ruddster to have the blow torch applied as a consequence. Current poll ratings are therefore about as irrelevant as they can get for the next election.
    I was also having a quiet giggle at the expense of those staunch free marketeers on this blog who went to some lengths to explain that to have a government-run bank was a stupid idea, and the market should rule, OK. How a month changes things.

  24. GP @ 40, wrong way to put the issue, perhaps? Sometime before SIEVX happened someone, outside of Government, asked me to suggest what sort of expedient could an Australian Government take in order to stop boat people. I suggested that the least cost would be to ‘bribe’ a few of the Indonesian authorities to stop it. I wasn’t promoting or supporting the idea, mind, just offering a view. My idea didn’t mean actually envisage ‘drown a boatload’. But guess what happened?

    Neither black nor white in this one, but there are three areas of possible moral turpitude on the part of the Howard Government here. The first is that it did not care really very much how the Indonesian authorities put pressure on boat people not to sail to Australia. The second is that it did not really care very much what bad things might actually happen to boat people once at sea. The third bit of moral turpitude was that it was willing to bastardise boatpeople in the water for its own party political purposes. My view is that the truth is unlikely to ever be fully known in the sense of facts fully comprehended, and accepted as supported by the avialable evidence. Too much grey filth in the grey areas of truth. Too many people with too much to lose in it ever coming out straight. However, alternative questions are available to be considered: Would all those women and children have drowned in a hopeless mass of terror in the water had the Howard Government had different policy settings towards: (1) What it wanted from Indonesian authorities (2) How it welcomed refugees. (3) how it expeced the Australian navy to behave? Probably, no. Did it care for those women and kids? I leave that for others to answer.

  25. Is it possible there’s less to be dissatisfied (and I suppose satisfied) in with an Opposition Leader as opposed to a Prime Minister? I’d imagine unless you’re particularly woeful it’s hard to be dissatisfied with irrelevant statements. I have to say I don’t see the attraction at all in Turnbull but it’s hard to imagine how out of his depth Nelson would be in presenting an Opposition line on the current economic situation.

  26. Boerwar @ 43,
    Spot on with your comments about both the irrelevance of current polling figures and the stupidity of blanket condemnations of government-owned institutions.

    If this financial crisis is what it looks like (ie one of the top two financial crises in history), and if the next election happens in two years’ time, we won’t be talking about the same issues as we have been for the past 15 years. Instead we’ll be talking about jobs, jobs, and jobs.

    As for what Brown has done in the UK, it seems to me to be the least worst option available right now, but if someone has a better idea, we’re all listening. Luckily the Australian banks seem much better placed, even now, than almost any other country’s.

    As for Rudd’s handling of the crisis? Fine so far, but as you say, what can he really do anyway?

  27. Surely, the incresase in personal satisfaction ratings for Turnbull compared to Nelson are simply a reflection of Liberal supporters being more comfortable with Turnbull as their leader. On the old figures it was pretty clear that most Lib supporters preferred Rudd to Nelson.

    A fairly devastating and unsustainable situation one would have thought.

  28. Given the dire circumstances we are in, this is a very good result for Rudd. A year into the term, Labor is still polling better than it did at the election – in other words the Libs haven’t even got back to where they were on election night. And this poll was taken before the announcement of the $5bn stimulus package, which will neutralise the government’s biggest current negative, the pensioners. Of course Turnbull has higher ratings than Nelson, he’s a much more engaging personality and gets a much better press. But the fact is that he has not turned the Libs’ deficit around. If, as I suspect, conservative parties in all English-speaking countries are suffering in the public estimation through their association with Bush, and are being blamed for the current disasters, the Libs are in the ironic position of having to hope that Rudd succeeds in extricating Australia from the Bush train-wreck so that they can escape the odium of having been Bush’s ideological soulmates.

  29. Turnbull’s frustration at being consigned to an irrelevant position is showing,he can sound off but he cant be there making the descisions, pressing the buttons and being in the spotlight making the announcments, he’s not the one world leaders are conferring with, by that he also cant be getting the kudos for any good economical policies, Rudd has come across as honest, serious, confident and all cards on the table,–really statesmanlike , i heard someone on radio describe Turnbull as a yapping dog on the outside jumping up and down yelping “look at me, look at me”, dunno that i’d go that far but it made me smile visualising it.

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